ESP Raptors

The Enhanced System Projectile (ESP) Raptor from Cutting Edge Bullets is a truly revolutionary design. It is three projectiles in one. It is a devastating hollow point expanding projectile for close range big game hunting, an unbelievably good penetrator solid projectile for those big game applications where you need maximum straight line penetration against dangerous game and also an efficient long range performer when the Raptor Tip ballistic tip is added.

How can this be true? It's too good to believe, isn't it? You may think that this bullet is just a gimmick. That's what the designers thought too, when the idea was first suggested to them. However, when they tested the idea, they were amazed at the initial results, and so went on the refine the design to produce the projectiles that exists now. So how do they work?

How They Work

The ESP Raptor is designed as a double ended projectile that has a hollow point at one end and a solid meplat at the other. In profile, each end is the same shape, so that you get the same trajectory whether you are using them as hollow points or solids. The shank is sub-calibre and rides the lands in the rifling while full diameter driving bands engage the rifling and seal the expanding gases. The driving bands on the bullet shank are offset from the centre in order to provide the optimal performance characteristics for the given application. With the solid end forward, the projectile sits further out of the case, while with the hollow point end forward the projectile is seated further back.

This is for two reasons:

  1. Extensive testing has shown that straight line penetration is optimised with a longer nose projection before the first driving band. With the solid end, these bullets will penetrate further than the best premium projectiles from other makers. They penetrate deep and straight and do not deform or tumble;
  2. With the hollow point end forward, massive trauma is the aim. While the projectile won't penetrate as deeply as when used as a solid, it will still reach to and beyond an animal's vital organs, creating immediate and devastating damage. The deeper seating also allows the addition of the Raptor Tip, a ballistic cap.

The Raptor Tip offers two advantages. Firstly, it significantly increases the ballistic coefficient of the projectile, providing a flatter trajectory for long range shooting. Secondly, at all ranges, it increases the impact velocity on the animal by better retaining the muzzle velocity. This translates to greater knockdown power.

Tips are available in standard or short profiles. The standard profile provides the best ballistic performance, while the short profile is designed for rifles with magazines that the standard profile may be too long for. If using a tube fed lever action rifle, leave the tip out altogether for increased magazine capacity and to prevent primer detonation in the tube magazine. While there are plenty of bullets out there with polycarbonate tips for increased ballistic performance, no other bullet offers the user the flexibility to add or remove the tip to the projectile to suit their needs as they choose.

All ESP Raptors are light for calibre, but in any given calibre perform better than conventional bullets that are much heavier. This means more muzzle velocity. This is important because the ESP Raptor loves velocity. Unlike conventional expanding bullets, the ESP Raptor not only does more damage the faster it goes, but it also penetrates further with increased velocity. This just does not happen with conventional bullets, where trauma and penetration are a trade off, with one reducing as the other increases.

Design Features

Double-ended Design – Both ends have the same shape but one is configured as a hollow point while the other is configured as a solid. This allows the one bullet to be used for two roles; either as an expanding bullet for maximum trauma, or as a non-expanding bullet for maximum penetration. The double ended design means that the rear of the projectile also acts as a tapered heel (boat-tail) design, which reduced drag and increased down-range ballistic performance.

Brass Mono-metal Construction – lathe turned from a solid brass rod, the projectiles are extremely consistent in terms of uniformity and weight, leading to excellent accuracy. Despite being slightly harder than copper, the increased lubricity of brass does not increase bore friction or pressures.

67% Meplat – Exhaustive testing revealed that for optimum penetration, the meplat (nose) should be 67% of the shank diameter. Regardless of which end you are using, the ESP Raptor presents the same nose profile to the air, giving the same point of aim for each configuration.

13o Nose Angle – The angle of the nose is also important for optimal penetration characteristics. Nose angle was selected following testing of a range of angles.

Driving Band Configuration – The use of driving bands as opposed to a full calibre shank means that friction is reduced, lowering peak chamber pressures. This in turn, allows increased velocity via an increased powder charge. The offset driving band design provides good neck tension as well as the appropriate seating depth for its given application. Longer nose projection with the solid end for improved penetration and shorter nose projection with the hollow point to allow use of Talon Tips. Testing has shown that when compared to conventional bullets with equivalent weight and seating depth, the ESP Raptor's driving band configuration results in both reduced chamber pressure and barrel strain. This makes these projectiles especially suited to use in the thin walled barrels of double rifles.

Deep Hexagonal Cavity (Hollow Pont End) – The precision cut hexagonal cavity promotes rapid expansion and shear of the six blades (cavity side walls). The design of the cavity width and depth ensures that the blades shear consistently in terms of their size, as well as shearing at the same time. The projectiles have been tested and refined to ensure that they have a low velocity shear point (LVSP). This makes them suitable for a range of cartridges (including those for lever action rifles), impact velocities and ranges.

Raptor Tips – The ESP Raptor's hollow point end can accept the polycarbonate Talon Tip for superior downrange ballistic performance by significantly increasing the projectile's ballistic coefficient. They are available in Standard or Short configurations, depending on the calibre. These can be inserted or removed at the discretion of the user, depending on their requirements or intended application. Talon Tips are interchangeable with Safari Raptor hollow point projectiles of the same calibre. 25 Raptor Tips are included with each box of 50 projectiles. Extra Tips can be purchased separately. 

Light Weight for Calibre – All the ESP Raptor bullets are light for calibre within their given bore diameter. This is to ensure their functionality in terms of seating depth (with or without Raptor Tips), as well as to maximise their velocity potential, as with increased velocity comes improves performance. Some calibres have a range of bullet weights for the ESP Raptors, allowing the hunter to select the right bullet weight for their intended purpose and calibre.


Note: Because these projectiles are solid brass, they are considerably longer than lead core projectiles of the same weight. As such, they will likely require a faster twist than the same weight lead core projectile. Please check the Technical Data Sheet to ensure that the projectiles you are interested in are compatible with your rifle's barrel twist rate.

For technical data on the ESP Raptor projectiles, click on Technical Data Sheet - ESP Raptors. All technical data sheets can also be found in the Technical Notes section, under the Ammunition Notes heading.